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US Indo-Pacific Command Professional Development Reading List

Book Recommendations

Our Time Has Come: How India is Making its Place in the World by Alyssa Ayres
Over the last 25 years, India's economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. From world trade to climate change to democratization, India matters.

Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper
Following WWII, it tells the story of how India, Pakistan, Burma and Malaysia came into existence and how British interference in Vietnam/Indonesia shaped those countries' futures.

India: Emerging Power by Stephen P. Cohen
Examines the domestic and international causes of India's "emergence," the way social structure and tradition shape Delhi's perceptions of the world, and India's relations with Pakistan, China, and the United States.

A Contest for Supremacy by Aaron L. Friedberg
Argues that our nation's leaders are failing to act expeditiously enough to counter China's growing strength. He explains how the United States and China define their goals and reveals the strategies each is now employing to achieve its ends.

On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis
For two decades, Yale students have competed for admission to the "Studies in Grand Strategy" seminar. Now Gaddis has distilled that teaching into a transformational book, surveying statecraft from the ancient Greeks to Franklin D. Roosevelt and beyond.

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James Hornfischer
Tells of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of “Ironbottom Sound.”

A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea Kindle Edition by Masaji Ishikawa
Ishikawa vividly describes the horrendous conditions that the tyrannical and cultish state inflicts on its people.

Asia’s Cauldron by Robert Kaplan
The center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia and the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict.

North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea by Andrei Lankov
Lankov describes the difficult but determined existence that North Koreans have created for themselves in the face of oppression.

Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military by Jim Mattis (Editor), Kori N. Schake (Editor)
Offers different perspectives on whether or not the experiences of our military and the broader society amounts to a “gap”—and if the American public is losing connection to its military.

An Area of Darkness: A Discovery of India by V.S. Naipaul
A profound reckoning of Naipaul’s ancestral homeland and an extraordinarily perceptive chronicle of his first encounter with India.

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth Norman
In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. Caught in the raging battle, on December 8th, the nurses set up field hospitals where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war.

Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation by Elizabeth Pisani
Declaring independence in 1945, Indonesia said it would "work out the details of the transfer of power etc. as soon as possible." With over 300 ethnic groups spread across over 13,500 islands, the world’s 4th populous nation has been working on that "etc." ever since.

A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads by Anthony Reid
Presents a comprehensive history of Southeast Asia from our earliest knowledge of its civilizations and religious patterns up to the present day. Incorporates environmental, social, economic, and gender issues to tell a multi-dimensional story of Southeast Asian history.

China’s Eurasian Century by Nadege Rolland
Analyzes the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative and examines the concept's origins, drivers, and various component parts, as well as China's domestic and international objectives.

Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia by Richard Samuels
For the past 60 years, the U.S. government has assumed that Japan's security policies would reinforce American interests in Asia. The political and military profile of Asia is changing rapidly which is commanding strategic review in Tokyo.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
It is based on Simon Sinek's viral video "Millennials in the workplace" (150+ million views).

In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia by Ronald H. Spector
Spector tells the fascinating story of the deadly confrontations that broke out–or merely continued–in Asia after peace was proclaimed at the end of World War II.

In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton
On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed in the South Pacific by a Japanese submarine. By the time rescue arrived, all but 317 men had died.

Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans by Admiral James Stavridis USN (Ret.)
A remarkable voyage through the world's most important waters, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path.

Red Star Over the Pacific by Toshi Yoshihara
Combining a close knowledge of Asia and an ability to tap Chinese-language sources with naval combat experience and expertise in sea-power theory, the authors assess how the rise of Chinese sea power will affect U.S. maritime strategy in Asia.

Books and novels are listed in alphabetical order by author. The appearance of any books or media sites on this list does not constitute an official endorsement by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.